The leading cause of premature death worldwide is indeed obesity. In a study in 2015, over 600 million adults and 100 million children were found obese over 195 countries. My second post in a series of MYTHBUSTERS also seeks to destroy the belief that it is caused by hereditary or genetic factors. You can access the previous one here. Contrary to popular belief, only a small percentage of obesity cases can be linked to genetic factors. Again, as in the previous article, please note that a genetic predisposition does not necessarily translate into a certainty of the disease.
Ironically, even as World Hunger Statistics show that 12.9 per cent of the world population is undernourished, an equal proportion is obese. In India, In India, the proportion of obese people is estimated to be around 7-8% (I could not find any recent statistics), up from 5% in 2007. The NFHS (National Family Health Survey) in 2015-16 reveals some alarming statistics. The NFHS 2018-19 has not concluded yet, but I am sure it will be worse. Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar, Puducherry and Sikkim have more than 30 per cent obese people whereas more than 10 per cent population in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal is obese. The total number of obese (in numbers as well as a proportion) has almost doubled since the NFHS in 2005-06 over a period of 10 years until the NFHS 2015-16. Researchers point out that the risk of type-2 diabetes applies to about 85 per cent of the obese population.
There are various diseases with various names, however in case of most prominent diseases, the 'cause' is absent from their names. One of the strongest linkages to obesity is type-2 diabetes - worldwide 75% - 80% people who developed type 2 diabetes in their thirties or forties were severely overweight or obese. Obesity is also linked to and is responsible for high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, PCOS, menstrual disorders, infertility, pregnancy complications, strokes, migraines, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, gout, low back pain, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. There is no bigger threat to our health today than obesity, which is spreading at an alarming rate.
Funnily enough, people who do realize their condition and seek to lose weight, do so more because of social stigma, need to look good and wear better clothes, than to maintain health. They are more worried about 'looking fat' that the fact that their health is in serious jeopardy. This in turn has led to one of the largest and highly profitable industries in the world during the past few decades - the weight loss industry. A plethora of pills, gimmicks and more, none of which have had any benefit - as with many other things in this modern age, the money that is spent on marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns lures people into buying or trying all this stuff - often for obscene amounts of money. It is amazing how people who would hesitate to spend a few hundred rupees for a well researched book (less than the cost of a meal at a restaurant) would spend thousands if not lakhs on weight-loss gimmicks.
Myth - Diet creams | where apparently, you can apply trimming creams with special ingredients which will automatically shrink all the abdominal fat accumulated by a lifetime of eating unhealthy food. Myth - 7 minute workouts | where with a few 'aids', you can do intense workouts and burn more calories that you would normally do in an hour. Balloon Pills, which one can swallow and inflate inside your tummy to get a sensation of feeling full (note the dangers of busting an organ or causing internal bleeding). Diet pills, called ayurvedic or natural, often with exotic (and expensive) ingredients which, at the most, may have limited impact on weight management, but definitely have side effects like nausea, irregular heartbeat, digestive problems, loose motions, etc. Myth - Sauna Belts, Steam Belts, Waist training apparatus, which make you look thinner and perhaps feel thinner for those moments of use, but have no permanent impact whatsoever. Nutritional shakes, exotic green and other herbal teas, supplements, appetite suppressants and the like, sold to gullible who are on the look out for a miraculous impact. Diuretics | where weight is lost due to water being eliminated resulting in loss of minerals and salts too and posting a risk of dehydration. Body wraps, which result in dramatic weight loss and only temporarily. Again, the risks are ignored, which can include dehydration and death in some cases.
The only lasting impact on weight-loss and weight-management is through proper diet and nutrition. And yes, it can be achieved. We are at this moment in a stage of self-experimentation after a lot of research and it is soon to be published as a book, one of the many that I intend to write over the next few months. The intention is to spread awareness amongst people and provide them with genuine well-researched facts, to help them come out of two of the most common issues that India (and the world) is facing - obesity and diabetes. The cost of a book in comparison to years of pills, injections, heartaches, pain, fatigue and frustration is nothing. If you are one of those interested in being one of the first to lay your hands on the book when it is completed, you can simply register here.